Karainagar is an island which is located 15km from Jaffna, Sri Lanka. It is surrounded by Indian Ocean and Jaffna Lagoon. The area of Karainagar is approximately 22Sq Km with 10Km from North to South and 2.2Km from East to West.
According to oral history the name Karainagar was a derivative from Karai chedigal (plants) found there or because Karainagarans are descendents of settlers from Karaikkudi. Kaarai is also the name of a kind of fish. It is only a conjecture to associate the place name with migrations from places of similar names on the opposite coast of Tamil Nadu, such as Kaaraikkudi or Kaaraikkaal. All these names might have originated independently from the natural vegetation. The validity of these propositions has so far not been tested.
Kaarai chedigal can still be found widely in the island along hedges and in thickets. Elders in the island still remember the ritualistic significance of the shrub. Twigs of Kaarai leaves are presented to the Brahmin priest who officiates ancestral rites during anniversaries. Kaarai, Musuddai (Iponoea candicans) and Pira’ndai (Vivitis quardrangularia) are part of the offerings on those occasions.
Elders in Kaarainakar also remember making Champal from the leaves (a side dish made by grinding the leaves along with scraped coconut, onions and chillies).
There is also an early Buddhist site, known today as Vearap-piddi (the stupa mound), on the western side of the island. The Kings of Jaffna maintained an establishment in this island, near the harbour, which is called Raasaavin Thoaddam.
The Dutch renamed the island as New Amsterdam during their rule. They also built a small fort called Hammanhiel, off the Southwest corner of the island to guard the sea routes. The continuity of the strategic recognition can be seen in the location of the northern headquarters of the Sri Lanka Navy at this island.
Karainagar is part of Jaffna district of Northern Province and elevated as an Assistant Government Agent (AGA) division from 07th April 2003. It is divided into nine Grama Niladari (GN) divisions. AGA’s office is situated near Valanthalai junction.
Karainagar is belonging to Voddukoddai electorate in Jaffna electoral district.
Karainagar Local governance body known as Pradeshiya Sabha, which establish from 2005. The Pradeshiya Sabha consists of five members who are elected by the people of Karainagar.
Population of Karainagar is variously estimated at about 4,000 in 1900, 16,000 in 1950, 45,000 in 1990 and 9,000 in 2007.
According AGA’s office recent statistics there are 10,564 people residing in karainagar. Population is staidly growing since 2009. Many Karainagarans are now living outside since 1990.
A 4 km long causeway linking the island to the mainland was built during the period when Sir W Twynham was the Government Agent of Jaffna (1867 – 1884). An engraved stone plaque in the Sayambu Hall (founder of Karainagar Hindu College) gives the date of the bridge as 1869. The causeway ended the geographic isolation of Karainagar. Sir P Ramanathan after a visit to the island in 1922 had Karaitivu officially renamed Karainagar on 12.09.1922. The network of roads linking the settlements within Karainagar was built after that.
Vernon bund was purpose built to preserve the rain water instead of allowing it to run to the sea and that reduce the scarcity of water in the surrounding area.
Climate of Karainagar is fall into low country dry zone of Sri Lanka. Temperature is ranging from 230 to 300c. Rainfall is received between October to January. Rainfall is the main source to obtain water. Water received during rainy season is percolated into the soil and stored as underground water, which is used for agriculture and other purposes during dry seasons. To obtain drinking water is very much difficult. Water is cultivated from wells and ponds ( Kulam). Currently there are number of water bowsers distribute drinking water fetched from Chunnakam.
Agriculture and fisheries are the major sources of the income in the area. Approxomately 500Hec. Area was used for paddy cultivation in 2008.
Karainagar were once flourishing due to maritime trade, declined during late 1990’s and 2000.
Many Karainagarans are involved in business through out Sri Lanka and are many living in oversea. There is a well known phrases describing Karainagarans “Kaakam pa’rakkaatha idamillai; Kaaraitheevan poakaatha oorillai”(There is no place on earth where the crow and the Kaaraitheevu islander cannot be seen).
Place of Interest
Casuarina Beach: Casuarina beach is considered as the best beach in the Jaffna peninsula. The beach is pretty different to a normal Sri Lanka beach In stead of coconut trees there casurina tree are growing along the beach.The colour of the sand is also a bit different and it was very soft making it a pleasant experience. The greatest thing about the casurina beach is the ability to walk towards the sea for miles. The shallowness of the beach combined with no waves makes it an ideal bathing place and it is also place of relax.
Temples: Temples are dotted in the Karainagar landscape and temple going was the main leisure activity for the people. There are 43 temples in Karainagar most dating back to the 19th century or earlier. The more popular deities were Pillaiyar, Murugan, Amman and Vairavar. The famous temple is Sivan temples known as Eelaththu Chidambaram.
Important Contact Details in Karainagar
|1||Assistant Government Agent||0094 (0) 21 222 6090|
|2||Administrative Office, AGA’S office||0094 (0) 21 222 4369|
|3||Pradeshiya Sabha (VC)||0094 (0) 21 321 6447|
|4||Divisional Hospital||0094 (0) 21 321 6573|
|5||Post Office||0094 (0) 21 321 5251|
|6||Bank of Ceylon||0094 (0) 21 222 8278|
|7||Samurthi Bank||0094 (0) 21 321 3599|
|8||MPCS||0094 (0) 21 321 2860|
|9||Fisheries Cooperative Society||0094 (0) 21 321 4052|
|10||J/ Yarlton College||0094 (0) 21 222 5357|
|11||J/Dr A Thiyagarajah MMV||0094 (0) 21 222 5406|
COMMUNITY PLACES IN KARAINAGAR
|No||Name of community centre||Location|
|5||Valarmathi||Kalai Koviladi Vilalan|
|7||Sri Sithampareswara||Sivagami Amman Kovil|
|9||Gangai Mathi||Vediyarasan Veethi|
Rural Development Societies
Name of RDS
Contact & Address